Northrop Grumman Selects Saft for Global Hawk UAV

October 13, 2004 by Jeff Shepard

Under a competitive contract awarded to Saft (France), a telecom battery system specialist, a next-generation Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), designated the RQ-4B, will soon be under flight test with Saft lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries. The multi-million dollar, multi-year contract from Northrop Grumman marks the first aviation application of Saft's line of new Li-Ion battery technology solutions.

During the first phase of the contract, Saft will provide three battery prototypes, two qualification units and six flight-ready batteries for flight test by February 2005. A total of 252 Li-Ion units are expected to be delivered to Northrop Grumman through 2011.

Currently, the Global Hawk UAV RQ-4A flies with three Saft Ultra-Low Maintenance nickel-cadmium batteries that provide emergency power to fly the vehicle in the event of engine failure and also power on-board navigation and computer systems.